I am not surprised that the authors of the book "Pasta by Design" were fascinated by the geometric shape of sagne incannulate. This pasta from Puglia, also called lasagne arrotolate and lagane incannulate, starts as a strip of pasta dough and ends as a long spiral that keeps its shape during cooking. On this page, you can see some lasagne arrotolate.
Reading the description in Orietta Zanini De Vita's Encyclopedia of Pasta made me search for additional information and then run to the kitchen to make some eggless pasta dough.
Zanini De Vita mentions the use of a round stick as a support for rolling the pasta, and I tried to use the thickest of the dowels I bought during my garganelli research, but I didn't have enough details to be able to reproduce her description.
Among the few videos that I found, the most helpful was this one, where the pasta strip is rolled around its long axis on the working surface to fold into a spiral. This other video shows a method that I find rather tricky, since the dough can stick to itself when rolled.
With the information acquired, I set about devising my procedure for making this beautiful pasta shape. The photo above shows my first sagne incannulate. And the video shows my hands at work:
Ingredients for the pasta:
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. semolina flour of good quality
- 50 g / 1.75 oz. warm water (I recommend weighing the water)
- A pinch of salt
Ingredients for the lentils:
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. / 1/2 cup lenticchie di Castelluccio, picked and rinsed (or other small lentils, like de Puy or black beluga)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons / 270 ml water
- 1 garlic clove, unpeeled (uno spicchio d'aglio in camicia; literally: with the shirt on)
- 1 small bay leaf
- A pinch of sea salt
- Olive oil
- A shallot, minced
- Leaves of a sprig of thyme
- A small garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 cups strained roasted tomatoes (thawed, if frozen)
- Sea salt, to taste
How to make the dough and shape sagne incannulate
Make a dough with the pasta ingredients and knead until nice and smooth. Let the dough rest, well wrapped to avoid drying, for half an hour or so.
Shape the dough into a thick disk, then cut it into quarters. Roll each quarter into a wide strip, thicker than when making tagliatelle. With my hand-cranked pasta machine, I roll the dough down until the third thinnest notch.
Zanini De Vita does not say how long the strips of dough are, while this page says 30 cm (12 inches). At the beginning, you may want to limit yourself to 10 inches (25 cm), so you can gain familiarity with the movements involved. I suggest not to exceed 12 inches (30 cm) of length.
Cut each piece of dough into strips about 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) wide. With one hand, roll each strip along its long axis to make a tight spiral. Use the other hand to guide the strip so it acquires the right shape. Make sure the working surface offers a bit of traction when you make the initial roll. If the surface is floured, the strip will slide rather then start folding onto itself.
Depending on the length of the resulting spiral, fold the rolled sagne incannulate in half or into thirds (like the bottom sagna in the top photo). Set them aside to dry on a kitchen towel or a floured wooden kneading board.
Knead together strips too short to roll and mishapen sagne and flatten the dough again into a wide strip to be cut. Repeat until all dough is used.
You need to let this pasta dry at least a day, longer if possible, before cooking. This will ensure that when you move it, you don't smash it and that the pasta will keep its beautiful shape when cooked. A kitchen towel under the pasta absorbs some of the moisture and so does a wooden kneading board.
How to cook the lenticcchie
Place all the ingredients for the lentils except the salt in a small pan. Bring to a boil and cook gently until lentils are tender. Check after 15 minutes and estimate the time necessary to complete the cooking (it should be a few more minutes). If the pan is dry, add a bit of hot water.
When done, add salt, stir and set aside.
How to prepare the tomato sauce
In a small saucepan, warm up a bit of olive oil, then add the shallot and thyme. Cook gently for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Adjust salt, to taste. Add the lentils to the tomato sauce (draining them first, if there is some water at the bottom of the pan) and stir well.
Note that this will make much more sauce than you need to dress the sagne made with the amount of dough above, but once you have the sauce ready, I am sure you'll find ways of using it, like making more handmade pasta.
How to put it all together
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then toss the sagne incannulate in it. The time needed is a bit variable, depending on the size of sagne, how dry they are, etc., but it is not short, as the pasta is rather dry. Taste and stop the cooking when the sagne are ready. Pour a glass of cold water in the pot, stir and drain the pasta. Place in a bowl, then distribute some lentils in tomato sauce and toss. Serve immediately.
Alternatively, while the pasta is cooking, place some lentils in tomato sauce in a small skillet and warm up.
Note: When I prepared the batch that I then photographed, I used a good amount of lentils to make a piatto unico (one-dish meal). When I serve the pasta as an Italian primo piatto (first course), I use less sauce.
Taste the pasta and stop the cooking slightly earlier than usual. Drain the pasta, leaving just a bit of water clining to it, then drop it into the skillet with the sauce. Stir well over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Plate and serve immediately.
Note: if tomato season is ongoing in your area, you can make tomato sauce using crushed tomatoes, adjusting the cooking time to get a sauce of the right consistency.
This is my second contribution to the current edition of Pasta Please, a new pasta-centric event created by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by Simona of briciole. The theme this month is: homemade pasta.
This post contains the roundup of the event.
This is also my contribution to MLLA #59, the current edition of the popular, legume-centered event created by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, now organized by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, and hosted this month by Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the sagne incannulate con lenticchie al sugo audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]